Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Good Communication

I am looking through the chapter on 'Good Communication' in Strengthening Your Marriage (Wayne Mack).  I thought I would post my thoughts.

'To a large extent, a married couple's experience of genuine oneness will be determined by the health of their communication system.'  'Wherever you find marital failure, you will find a breakdown in real communication.  Wherever you find marital success, you will find a good communication system.'

1.  One of the basic requirements of good communication is openness and honesty.
Speaking of the church the apostle Paul writes, 'Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are members of one body' (Ephesians 4:25).  'I cannot really know my wife; she cannot really know me; unless we are open and honest with each other.' '... unless I am relating to what she is in her heart, I am relating to a phantom, an image, a mirage, and not the real person.'  So in a marriage counselling session a husband or wife may exclaim, 'I didn't realise that you felt that way', 'I didn't know that hurt/annoyed you,' or 'I didn't know you wanted me to do that.'

So how do we deal with those things where our partner annoys us?  We surely don't want to be picky and fussy.  Certainly there are plenty of times when we simply need to let a thing go or forgiving and ignoring a fault they have.  After all the Bible tells us to love cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8) and that 'love covers over all wrongs' (Proverbs 10:12).  We need to decide where we need to be more patient and where a pattern of behaviour needs to be confronted (because persisting in it will damage our marriage and the witness of our spouse, including the example they set for the children).

Here are some questions we might ask ourselves before we talk to our spouse about something they are doing which is frustrating us.
-Is it a good time to broach this issue ('how good is a timely word', Prov. 15:23)?
-Is my attitude right ('Do everything in love', 1 Cor. 16:14)?
-Have I prayed about the matter and am I trusting God to help me (before addressing such an issue why not pray, 'may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in you sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer', Ps. 19:14?)?
Of course course it is not just in matters where they annoy us that we will need to communicate.  Good communication is not just problem-solving.  When we first found ourselves romantically interested in them we delighted to simply spend time with them learning about what they have in their heart.  We should be spending time simply delighting to learn more about them.  Showing that we care with our ears and our time.

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